Public welcome to comment on potential paddlefish regulation changes

Francis Skalicky, Missouri Department of Conservation
MDC is seeking public input on potential regulation changes for both recreational and commercial paddlefish harvest in the state.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is seeking public input on potential regulation changes for both recreational and commercial paddlefish harvest in the state.

People can comment on the potential regulation changes by going to https://mdc.mo.gov/paddlefishcomments. The comment period will end June 8.

Paddlefish are unique members of Missouri’s sportfish and commercial fisheries and provide special recreational opportunities in the state. MDC is considering these changes because it feels the rules, if enacted, would promote long-term sustainability of paddlefish populations statewide.

“These potential regulation changes will help MDC reach our management goals on both rivers and reservoirs and ensure that we can meet federal requirements to demonstrate a sustainable fishery,” said Dave Ostendorf, an MDC scientist who’s involved with paddlefish management in the state. “This will improve harvest opportunities for recreational snaggers and commercial fishers.”

The regulation changes being considered fall into two categories, recreational and commercial. Potential regulations for recreational snaggers are:

-Establish a statewide minimum length limit of 32 inches (from the eye to the fork of the tail), which would replace the current state-wide length limit of 24 inches. (This proposal would not change the current 34-inch minimum length limit on Lake of the Ozarks, Truman Lake, Table Rock Lake and all their tributaries.)

-Include a definition of snagging in the Wildlife Code of Missouri and method clarification.

-On Table Rock Lake, require anglers to cease snagging after a daily limit of two paddlefish has been harvested. (This regulation is already in place at Lake of the Ozarks and its tributaries, Truman Lake and its tributaries, and the Osage River below U.S. Highway 54.)

Potential regulations for commercial fishers are:

-Establish the statewide minimum length limit of 32 inches, which would replace the current length limit of 24 inches.

-Establish a Nov. 1-April 15 season. Currently there is no season; commercial harvest (which only takes place on the Mississippi River) is allowed all year.

People can learn more about the regulations being considered and watch a presentation that explains MDC’s research efforts that are behind them at:

https://mdc.mo.gov/paddlefishcomments.